Wing load refers to the weight carried by an area of wing.



(1) total loaded weight of the plane

(2) area of the free wing (wing able to provide lift)


wing load =

= (total weight) / (total area)


Units: kg per square meter or lbs per square foot or Newtons per square meter.

1 kg per square meter = 9.81 N per square meter (reflects gravity).


One reason to have a smaller wing is to reduce drag and to increase speed. Having a smaller wing means higher wing loading. The plane can get adequate lift if it goes faster but maneuverability may be worse and the plane will have a higher take-off and landing speed. Some planes have Fowler flaps that can expand wing area to lower landing and take-off speeds.


The highest wing loading is typically at take-off because of the higher weight. Weight can change from fuel consumption or dropping of bombs or supplies.


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